Here at Waurn Ponds Estate we believe it is incredibly important to be environmentally sustainable. That’s why we have been implementing a number of different initiatives to ensure we are being socially and environmentally responsible.
We’ve put our focus towards key areas that we can make a significant and immediate change, trialling new processes for waste disposal, supplier relations, guest amenities, paper use and all throughout kitchen.
For the past couple of years we have been using a Closed Loop System that turns our food waste into compost. The Closed Loop system works through pouring food waste into the machine, which then uses controlled temperatures, agitation, airflow and organic starter material to decompose and pasteurise the food into dry compost in just 24 hours. This nutrient rich compost is used across the kitchen garden to help us continue growing our own herbs, flowers and vegetables.
The Closed Loop System has enabled us to halve our weekly waste going to landfill.
Another initiative we have implemented is the removal of plastic bin liners and we have now set up a washing station for these bins instead.
We believe that it is not only important for us to be sustainable, but it is also important to use suppliers that share our environmentally friendly mindset.
Our egg supplier now delivers all eggs in re-usable crates, eliminating cardboard boxes.
Soon, we’ll be getting our milk directly from Schulz Organic Dairy the old fashioned way! The milk will arrive in glass bottles to serve on our buffet breakfast, which are then returned to the supplier for re-use.
Our kitchen team have also worked hard with our other suppliers to ensure we don’t receive any goods in polystyrene boxes.
For Our Guests
Our sustainability initiatives are also passed onto our guests.
In our accommodation rooms, single use slippers have been removed. Guest feedback was that they weren’t necessary and often opened simply because! We have also reduced our soap, shampoo and conditioner sizes in line with the average length of stay as often the tubes were barely half used. Leftover tubes are then donated to local charities working with the homeless.
We encourage our customers to enjoy their coffee here onsite in our beautiful surroundings, but when life gets too busy and they need their caffeine hit takeaway, we use biodegradable takeaway coffee cups or hope that they’ve brought their own keep cup!
As above, we don’t encourage the use of straws, but offer biodegradable straws should someone require one.
With all the technology that is available today, it was a no brainer that we needed to decrease our paper use and work towards being a ‘paperless’ business.
All office staff have significantly reduced the amount of paper generated and have gone digital with checklists, communication documents and contracts.
All university staff have been offered online newspaper subscriptions to eliminate newspapers across all campuses.
In the past, note pads and pens were set at each place on conference tables and delegates were often using these for creative squiggles as opposed to useful note taking. We have now moved to providing these at a station at the front of each room, still allowing those visual people to use, but has largely reduced the amount of paper going to recycling.
We also encourage our clients to go digital to illustrate their ideas instead of using flip chart paper where possible.
As well as being sustainable, it is also important for us to be socially responsible which is demonstrated with our project partnering with Envision.
We are collecting all milk bottle lids, both from use here at the Estate and also encouraging our staff to do so in their own homes. These are then sent to a company called Envision, who turn these into prosthetic limbs for children.
In The Kitchen
With the renovation to our kitchen earlier this year and all our shiny new machinery and workspaces, we’ve converted to using Enjo cleaning products where possible. These are washed in our onsite laundry daily which has eliminated the use of disposable cloths and scourers.
Clingwrap use has been significantly reduced with the introduction of a categorised system of labelled containers in our storeroom, fridge and freezer – it’s an organised person’s form of heaven!
As we move into the future, we will continue to implement changes to improve our sustainability and look for areas to reinforce our stance as an environmentally friendly conference centre.